Why do big-name hand and power tool brands heavily advertise new or specific tools during the winter holiday season? Why do brands that exclusively target professional users flood retailers with consumer-targeted products around the same time? Why are there so many products during the winter holiday season that straddle the fine line between innovation and gimmick?
If you asked me this question a week ago, I would have thought that sales would have been the sole motivation. Tools sell very heavily during major gift-giving holidays. Consumers spend big bucks around these times, and tool brands want as big a piece of the action as possible.
Plus, in a lot of cases, new and exciting tools and related products help bring customers into stores, where there is a high likelihood they will add additional merchandise to their carts.
I had a very short discussion with a brand manager on Friday, and the words brand awareness came up when discussing their holiday-timed tools. It blew my mind.
Some new tools and gizmos elicit a very positive response from me, others I wouldn’t use as paperweights. In the past I wondered about some of those tools that I didn’t quite look upon favorably. In a lot of cases these holiday-timed gizmos did not exactly fit into brands’ grand marketing schemes.
Sometimes I take for granted how familiar I am with tool brands, but there was a time when I knew about very few brands.
All along I really thought that it was about immediate benefits – product sales, direct profits, and in the case of stores with house brands, increasing foot traffic in stores.
But those simple two words – brand awareness – entirely changed the context I view such tools in. It won’t change my impression of all holiday-timed tools, this is something I won’t fail to consider in the future.
This also changes my understanding about some of the tool bundles and “special buys,” and why you’ll find clamp sets, tape measure sets, special gift sets, and so forth so heavily promoted around major gift-giving holidays. In some cases it’s about direct profits. But in others, it’s at least partially about getting a tool in your hand and brand name in your head.
I know some of this sounds obvious, but it wasn’t to me. And if you made it this far into the post, you’re probably wondering what my point is. I’m sorry, but I don’t really have one. It’s just that, as a consumer, I wish I were aware of brand awareness product and marketing initiatives, among many other things, years ago when my tool-purchasing decisions were more easily influenced.
I always try to be transparent with my thought processes, and how I arrive to opinions and conclusions about brands, products, and retailers. I am discussing all this now in case I forget to “show my work” in the future. Now that I know there are additional strategies behind “Q4 tools,” my perspective might change. Or it might not. Even with brand awareness as part of the marketing goal behind holiday-timed products, direct sales and profits are still likely top priority.
It can be a challenge for reviewers and consumers alike to see the truth behind the curtain. Honestly, I don’t know if a better awareness of the why behind certain holiday-timed tools and products will really change anything for me as a reviewer or consumer; I’m just glad that I now know about and better understand one more factor in the equation. Hopefully you feel the same way.